Warning letters for business owners to vacate their properties will be issued this week, Ma-Ann Samran, chief of the Cherng Talay Tambon Administration Organisation (OrBorTor), the local authority for Surin Beach, assured at a high-level meeting at Provincial Hall yesterday (Dec 1).
“Formal notices will be delivered to restaurant and beach club owners, locals and tourists this week. We have to formally inform them of the demolition in advance so they can prepare and get themselves ready for the removal,” Mr Ma-Ann said.
Also, Surin Beach will be closed for three to seven days while the demolition is carried out, he added. “Hence the need to inform tourists,” Mr Ma-Ann said.
A total of 36 businesses are targeted for demolition. “Of these, 20 belong to Cherng Talay OrBorTor,” Phuket Vice Governor Chokdee Armornwat said at the meeting yesterday, when the New Year deadline was set.
“These will be no problem, as Mr Ma-Ann has already approved the demolition of these buildings,” he said.
The other 16 buildings slated for demolition are owned by the Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (PPAO).
The PPAO is working on completing the legal process to have those buildings knocked down, too, V/Gov Chokdee said.
“The sooner we get approval, the better for us. I want to see Surin Beach returned to its ‘virgin state’ by the end of the year,” he added.
The move to restore Surin Beach’s “virgin beauty” will include a full ban on any beach umbrellas, following the embarrassing collapse of the 10-per-cent beach vendor zone implemented not even two weeks ago.
Beach umbrellas spanned the entire length of the beach within days of the 10% zones being announced, and were present all along the sands even while officials discussed the mass-demolition operation at Provincial Hall yesterday.
“No-one will be allowed to bring umbrellas and sunbeds to Surin beach,” Mr Ma-Ann said on Wednesday.
“It would be too difficult to control the beach if you allow them to bring their own stuff. You will never know which items tourist brought themselves and which items were rented to them by vendors.”
However, Mr Ma-Ann did not reveal any action against the beach vendors for the time being.
At the meeting, the push to clear Surin Beach was credited to a desire to honour Their Majesties The King and Queen of Thailand.
“I would like Surin Beach to be one of the most natural beaches in Thailand with no umbrellas or sun mats allowed. Only the towels and some sheets should be used on the beach,” said Mr Ma-Ann.
V/Gov Chokdee clearly voiced his support. “We will preserve the natural state of the beach as much as we can because both our King and Queen are genuine lovers of nature,” he said.
“The original royal pavilion is still there. We will renovate it and restore the area in honour of their memorable visit to Surin Beach in years past.”